Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade

Rachel Rabinowitz a young Jewish girl of immigrant parents living in New York City. When Rachel was  a precocious young girl of only 4 years old, a tragedy separates her and her only brother Sam.  They are both sent to the orphaned Hebrews home where they each stay in separate sections until they are later reunited. Rachel was kept in an infants hospital where she was subjected to medical research and experiments including x-ray experiments which left her with life long side effects.  The novel takes the reader through alternating chapters of Rachel's life and experiences from the orphanage through her coming of age and then full circle into adulthood. In adulthood, she is  a nurse, 40 years old, and working at the Old Hebrews home where the doctor who conducted the medical experiments when she was a child is now her patient. Rachel is confronted with a moral dilemma, she struggles along a fine line of revenge and retribution and a choice between forgiveness and retribution. She learns that choices, even unexpected can truly shape our destinies. 

Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade is a beautifully crafted and compelling debut novel.  The style of narration and fluidity of writing eases the reader along and held my attention completely. Although this is a fictional account, what was fascinating to me as a reader is that the book is related to true family history and research that the author stumbled upon. Kim van Alkemade's website is full of background and pictures from her research and true stories that inspired Orphan Number Eight. 

I received an advanced reading copy E-galley provided by Edelweiss and Harper Collins for review.  

Orphan Number Eight will be released in August 2015

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  1. This was featured at the Harper Collins Fall Preview and someone there said it's her favorite fall book so I'm anxious to read it.

  2. That sounds really interesting. There was another book about experimentation on orphans published earlier thisyear - Asylum. It concerned Canadian orphans and was based on real stories. I've been meaning to read it and I think I'll add this one as well. Thanks, Bonnie!

  3. I didn't read your full review since I'll be reading this soon but I'm glad you liked it so much because that means I probably will too!

  4. Thanks for the great review! Sounds like a book I will definitely be purchasing!

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  6. A very entertaining book which is very well written. Things that I vaguely knew about but didn't really know the extent of the experiments and things that they performed on the babies and small children. A real eye opener which keeps one interested the whole way through!

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